About The Company

Citizen Research & Design, formerly Sylvia Harris LLC, is a communications firm that plans and shapes information programs with direct input from the general public. We create strategic plans for user-friendly publications, signage, and media that are displayed in public venues or distributed by public services. Advisor to client teams from some of the country’s largest institutions, CitizenR&D makes sure that communication programs are simple, seamless, and accessible by design.

Our Approach

CitizenR&D is associated with “big picture” thinking and focuses on putting users first. Taking a global approach that relies on research, we help our clients and their creative teams turn insights into strategies for friendly, integrated and targeted communications. With thorough testing and user input, these strategies become applied designs that really communicate with the intended audience.

Our Clients

CitizenR&D serves two types of clients who must reach out to the general public. We help service organizations disseminate essential information across a range of traditional and digital media. We also advise institutions that manage campuses, complexes, and other spaces about ways to support and inform their visitors. Clients hire CitizenR&D because we foster innovation, while maneuvering through charged decision-making and policy environments. We balance policy and design in order to serve people.

Our Founder

Sylvia Harris was a 25-year champion of good design for the public and founder of Citizen Research & Design. She passed away on July 24, 2011, but she remains a vital inspiration for the work of this company.

Sylvia specialized in creating accessible communications for mass audiences. As founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design, she guided the nation’s largest hospitals, universities, and civic agencies through processes that included strategic planning, policy development, and innovation management. Sylvia was a member of the U.S. Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee and served on the advisory committee of the New York City Department of Transportation. A popular educator and lecturer, she taught at Yale University, The School of Visual Arts, and The Cooper Union. She received her MFA from Yale in 1980 and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1975. Her advocacy work can be viewed on the company blog, Citizen Designer.